The Lads in Their Hundreds: Songs of World War I

Friday November 8 @ 8:00 PM

Travel back to 1914, step into the shoes of the soldiers and their loved ones, and live the First World War through song. We pay homage to the struggle of war: the sacrifice of service, the longing from home, the love and grief in every wartime story. This innovative program features music, readings, and images woven into a multimedia fabric evoking the sights and sounds of The Great War.

  • Robert Peavler, baritone
  • Kevin Bylsma, piano

Baritone Robert Peavler serves as professor of voice and opera workshop at Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Peavler regularly performs as a recitalist and soloist as well as being a frequent adjudicator and clinician. He has presented at both the Michigan Music Conference and MSVMA Summer Workshop and was chosen to participate in Stephen Smith’s 2017 Naked Voice Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Peavler co-authored Scarecrow Press’ The Mélodies of Francis Poulenc: A Study Guide (978-0810884144).

A versatile performer, Dr. Peavler has performed with Michigan State University’s Musique 21 in a Michigan premiere performance of Kieren MacMillan’s Drunken Moon paired with Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire. Other recent performances include collaborations with Chamber Music Society of Detroit, UMS Summer Sings, Plymouth Oratorio Society, Detroit Concert Choir, and Kerrytown Art Song Festival. His operatic credits include the title roles in Le nozze di Figaro, and Gianni Schicchi as well as Father in Hansel and Gretel and Noye in Noye’s Fludde. As an orchestral soloist, Dr. Peavler’s repertoire includes Vaughan Williams’ Mystical Songs, Copland’s Old American Songs, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Poulenc’s La bal Masqué as well as the Mozart, Fauré and Brahms Requiems. An advocate of American art song, his recording, From the Heartland(Albany Records-TR1349), is a collection of contemporary American art song, highlighting composers Kirke Mechem, Dominic Argento, Thomas Pasatieri and Timothy Hoekman.  He is looking forward to his recital “The Lads in the Hundreds” at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor on November 8, 2019 and being a soloist with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Ann Arbor on December 21, 2019.

As a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Dr. Peavler has been a participant of the NATS Foundation Intern Program, currently serves as Vice President for Michigan NATS and has published in the Journal of Singing. Active in the College Music Society (CMS), Dr. Peavler has served on the CMS National Committee for Music in Higher Education and the Committee for Academic Citizenship, as well as presented a lecture recital at the 2015 International Conference in Helsinki, Finland.

Prior to joining the EMU faculty, Dr. Peavler taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Columbus State University, Chicago State University and College of Du Page. He has served as a vocal instructor and staff choir conductor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, as well as on the staff of the New York State Summer School for the Arts (NYSSSA) Choral Studies Program as a voice teacher and opera director. Dr. Peavler’s students consistently place at the top of their divisions in state and regional auditions; he is proud of their contributions as music teachers and professional singers across the country.

With more than two decades experience as a vocal coach, collaborative pianist, choral conductor, and organist, Kevin J. Bylsma is a musician of impressive depth and ability, well known for his work in opera, art song, and oratorio. A longtime member of the Toledo Opera staff, Mr. Bylsma was formerly Music Director of the Department of Community Programs for the Michigan Opera Theatre and vocal coach, accompanist, and chorus master for OPERA! Lenawee. In recitals and master classes he has collaborated with the great American singers Samuel Ramey, Diane Soviero, Marilyn Horne, Dawn Upshaw, Michelle De Young, Irina Mishura, Katherine Lewek, and Jennifer Rowley. He is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ann Arbor Festival of Song, and, for the past twenty-five years, he has served the historic Mariners’ Church of Detroit as Associate Organist and Choirmaster.

Dedicated to the education and training of the next generation of operatic talent, Mr. Bylsma is Lecturer of Opera and Repetiteur at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, responsible for vocal coaching and serving as a collaborative pianist for the school’s large body of young singers. Mr. Bylsma also serves on the artistic staff of OperaWorks, an intensive opera training program, based in Los Angeles, CA.

A native of Grand Rapids, MI, Mr. Bylsma received his musical training at Calvin College, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Michigan—where he received the Robert Glasgow Organ Scholarship. He currently resides in Toledo, Ohio’s Old West End historic neighborhood with his cats: Mums and Rex!